During a Spiritual Warfare Conference at our church last week, Dr. D.L. Lowrie challenged us with the realities of the war raging all around us. Even though I was more than familiar with the Biblical texts he had chosen, too often I find myself lulled into complacency and indifference. It is all too easy to simply go through the motions and play church. When we do, our arch enemy grins with glee.
Dr. Lowrie reminded us of the “axis of evil” standing in the way of all devoted followers of Jesus. This “axis of evil” is the world, the flesh or sinful nature, and the devil. The world seeks to conform and shape us into its image. The flesh (or the imposter as Brennan Manning calls it) makes war against our spirit and soul from within our own hearts and minds. The devil intimidates, lies, and deceives his way to power and influence within our lives. Against this kind of onslaught from within and without it is good to know as John proclaimed “greater is He that is within us than he that is in the world!”
In Dr. Jerry Rankin’s book Spiritual Warfare: The Battle for God’s Glory he wrote a probing insight about our arch enemy the devil. He wrote:
“Spiritual warfare is not so much about demon possession, territorial spirits, or generational bondage as it is overcoming Satan’s lies and deceits in our own life.”
Jesus called Satan “the father of lies” and this description still holds true today. His mission boils down to getting you to believe lies about yourself, God, and true fulfillment and completeness. Like a flashy lure dazzling the attention of an unsuspecting fish only to hook it and turn it into tonight’s dinner, Satan lies and lies seeking to deceive us into turning from the truth and living our lives in the shadows.
One of the areas he attaches me is in the area of my security. Too often I give into the trap of “people pleasing” and seek to be everything to everybody. When someone disapproves of me, or criticizing me I find myself crippled in my tracks, and almost defenseless against the disapproval. Suddenly I see myself as worthless, broken, or marred. My security in Christ is exchanged for a feeble attempt at self confidence by trying to be everything others want me to be. There is only one voice that gives life and security and it is not the deceiving voice of the enemy, nor the fickle voices of the crowd, nor the inner scheming flesh. No the only voice that speaks life is the still small voice of God amplified by His Spirit within us.
We would all be wise to stop believing the lies and to hold fast to the truth. Remember what Jesus said:
“if you continue in my words, you will be my disciples indeed, and you will know the truth and the truth will set your free.”